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Barbados:Drastic decline in enrolment at Cave Hill campus of UWI

Published:Thursday | September 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 BRIDGETOWN (CMC): The Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies has confirmed a drastic decline in the number of Barbadian students enrolling at the tertiary institution this academic year as the government's austerity measures begin to take effect.

Campus Registrar Ken Walters told reporters that overall, there had been a total of 1,468 students registering this academic year, as compared with 2,240 at the start of the last academic year in 2013.

Last year, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler, in his 2013-14 budget presentation, said that effective 2014, Barbadian students pursuing studies at the university's three campuses will be required to pay their own tuition fees, while the government continues to fund economic costs.

Sinckler said the tuition fees range from BDS$5,625 to BDS$65,000 (one Barbados dollar = US$0.50 cents) and that the new policy would reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated BDS$42 million a year.

Walters said that the faculties most affected by the decline in student population were Humanities and Education, and that a high percentage decline in medical science and postgraduate students.

Walters said that the decline in postgraduate students could also have further effect for the future socio-economic development of Barbados, given that management studies were developed in collaboration with the public and private sectors.

"If our students are not looking at these seriously, I think that is where the gap may occur in terms of the development plans," he said.

There were only 477 graduate students registering in 2014, compared to 875 in 2013, a 45 per cent reduction.